Today’s passage: 1 John 1:2–3
Focus verse: We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. (1 John 1:3)
Building on the phrase Word of life, John continues by saying that the life appeared—that is, Jesus appeared—whom John has seen and testifies about. He proclaims Jesus’s life (eternal life) to us.
Why does he do this? He doesn’t say it’s so we’ll go to heaven when we die, even though eternal life is a sweet outcome of following Jesus.
John’s goal is that we might enjoy fellowship with other followers of Jesus. And this fellowship is also with Father God and his Son. This means that as part of Jesus’s church, we can also fellowship with our Creator and our Savior.
But fellowship is a strange word to me.
As a child, the only time I ever heard fellowship was when churches had “fellowship hour” or “a time of fellowship.”
This meant the adults would sit around drinking coffee, making small talk, and laughing at amusing anecdotes. Aside from taking place in a church building, God had little part in our fellowship time.
But fellowship bored us kids. For our part, we spent this time seeking creative ways to entertain ourselves, with the goal of avoiding getting into trouble.
Though supplying some insight, the dictionary doesn’t offer much clarity into what John means with fellowship either. In defining fellowship, it talks about companionship, friendship, and comradeship.
This understanding may explain most churches’ fellowship time, but it falls short of what Christian fellowship could and should be.
The churches’ and the dictionary’s superficial views of fellowship aren’t what John writes about. The reality that God is part of our fellowship suggests it exists, at least in part, on a spiritual level where we enjoy a supernatural connection.
Consider the pair of disciples walking to Emmaus after Jesus’s crucifixion. The resurrected Christ appears to them, but they don’t recognize him.
When they at last realize who he is, Jesus disappears. Reflecting on what happened, they say, “Weren’t our hearts burning when he talked to us and explained the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:32).
Having our hearts burn within us is an example of fellowship.
God-honoring fellowship should cause our hearts to burn when we talk about the things of God, explore the Bible together, and live in authentic Christian community.
And we can also experience this intense, personal fellowship with God. Through the Holy Spirit, we can connect with God the Father and God the Son in the spiritual realm.
This fellowship with other believers and with our Lord is why John proclaims Jesus. And when we follow Jesus, we can experience this sincere, profound, and deep connection on a spiritual level.
- Is our fellowship more than sitting around and drinking coffee?
- How can our fellowship with other believers be more meaningful?
- How can we have fellowship with God?
- When is the last time your heart burned within you over spiritual matters?
- What role can the Holy Spirit play in our fellowship?
Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.
Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.